This post is for SharePoint beginners. When creating custom lists or customizing lists based on the default templates, you often add columns. If you want to re-use these columns you can choose to create site columns, these are re-usable.
Why and when to use site columns
Some columns you add to your lists might be unique, unique in your organisation, or unique in your project. As some columns may be unique, others can have multiple occurrences within you organisation. When columns have more settings and options to it and in that way can become relatively complex, when this occurs it might be handy to re-use these columns. This has several advantages. It saves you time, time in creating them and perhaps time in testing them. It also ensures that every different list, has the same way of displaying and functioning of the site column.
How to create a site column
- Navigate to the top level site of the site collection in which you want to use the site column. The site column will only be shared in the site collection and its children.
- In the upper left corner click “Site Actions” and then choose “Site Settings”. Next, under ” Galleries” , click “Site columns”.
- On the page that is displayed, a list with all existing site columns is displayed. Click “Create” to create a new site column.
- This opens a page which looks familiar if you have create a list column before, or maybe you’ve seen it reading my post about creating a custom list. When all the properties of the site column are set to fit your needs, click “Ok” to create the site column.
- After creating the site column we of course also want to use it. The first time I tried to, it took me some time to find where I could do that. In the site collection where you created your site column, either create a new list, or use an existing one. Click on the list. In the Ribbon, make sure that under “List Tools”, List is selected (click it). Then, in the Ribbon, click “List Settings”.
- Scroll down to “Columns” and click “Add from existing site columns”.
- Add the column to the list and presto, we’re done.